Development of a steady state analysis code for molten salt reactor based on nodal expansion method
AUTHORS: Cui, Y; Chen, JG; Dai, M; Cai, XZ
The unique feature of molten salt reactor (MSR) is that heavy metal fuel and fission products can be dissolved in a molten fluoride salt to form a eutectic mixture which acts as both fuel and coolant. The fission energy from fissile fuel is released immediately into the fuel salt in the core, and the delayed neutron precursors (DNP) have a loss due to fuel circulation in the primary loop, which both make MSR be characterized by the strong interplay between the neutronics and thermal hydraulics (TH) and imply that the software developed for traditional solid-fueled reactors is not applicable to MSR. In this study, a new coupled neutronics and TH code named TMSR3D is developed for evaluating the steady-state characteristics of liquid-fueled MSR. In this code, the fourth order standard nodal expansion method (NEM) is implemented to solve the neutron diffusion equations, and the parallel multi-channel model is adopted to take into account the feedbacks of local temperature to group constants. Besides, a convection term is introduced into the traditional balance equations for DNP to consider the influence of fuel salt flow. Some experiment data of Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) are chosen to verify the code, and the core characteristics including the distributions of neutron fluxes, DNP and temperature under the rated condition are simulated and discussed. Furthermore, the impacts of the inlet mass flow rate, inlet fuel temperature and the fuel salt residence time out of the core are analyzed in detail. The numerical results indicate that the TMSR3D code can provide a reliable description of the neutronics-TH coupling phenomena and of the steady state analysis for graphite-moderated channel-type MSRs. (C) 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.